The nation has fooled itself all the time

Dear Editor,

I refer to SN’s editorial titled, ‘Dialogue and the Trini experience’ (July 24) on crime consultation and management there, and then the reports of the Lusignan embarrassment here.  Amidst the spiralling, but reasonable grounds for apprehension, there is still place for the embarrassing, and to acknowledge publicly for the umpteenth time that which cripples.

The Trinis have their sharp polarizations; somehow their leaders rise beyond them, on occasion.  Somehow they lift themselves up above the petty and the self-defeating.  Locally, every circumstance, be it jailbreak, or sugar, or oil, or every other serious issue is exacerbated into a grave crisis for cheap political positioning and scoring.  It is as if these situations are waited for to pounce and to sabotage one more time; it cannot be resisted, it cannot be looked at otherwise, but as a moment to insert and twist the dagger.  There is no give, thus there is no take.

Every issue of national import is regarded as an opportunity to be stoked and accelerated by political one-upmanship to the precipice of social brinkmanship.  By any measurement, both one-upmanship and brinksmanship have failed this country and failed it devastatingly time and time again.  Those abject failures in key areas and crucial times must be fairly and squarely laid at the feet of leaders, bar none.  Some have been more harrowing than others; the harrowing include the revered, the beloved, and the iconic.  This is neither oracular nor sagacity; it is mere commonsense and the irrefutable logic of a ramshackle history and a worse reality.

And yet sensible citizens cannot bring themselves to either face or admit the truth, or confront the internal venoms that contribute so significantly to personal blindness and environmental radioactivity.  Having said this much, where does this leave Guyana and Guyanese?  At least those possessing a conscience and who still really care?

Editor, from the tone and sweep of my continuing articulations, it should be clear that, other than for a few paltry exceptions, I harbour a deep psychic (near pathological) dislike for the ugliness and barbarisms that characterize representation and leadership here.  Without any bow to exaggeration, there is recognition that the criminal-minded and the felonious per se form a not insignificant strain in the cadre of the political apparatus in this country.  And whoever they may be, and wherever they are embedded, they dominate, and there is the ferocious determination to prevail.  They will not be deterred; they are not going anywhere.  In fact, they have nowhere to go, and know of nothing else to practise and perpetuate, other than the divisive and diseased.  It is not working, other than towards the continuing decimation of the residual pillars of principle and interest.

Now the question posed still remains: where is there to go, given such immovable truths?  It is that the genuinely centrist, the truly caring, the doggedly visionary, and the unapologetically patriotic must compel themselves to rise above qualms and limitations; above circumstances and traditions, and above the emotional shackles and take a stand.  They must stand for something different inside parties, and the still engaged citizens must epitomize something constructive beyond safe words and civilized disgust in public.  They must overcome tribal leaders and cult leaders.  This is not expected of either diehards, or tribalists, or the less than literate.  It is the obligation of the thinking and the concerned; none could be that far gone that they are unconcerned.

In reality, there is only one of two ways out of the domestic quagmire.  First, it is for leaders and groups to change their ways.  Well, that is not happening soon enough.  The other, and it is remote, is for the thoughtful and moderate to challenge themselves, to be prepared to sacrifice, to denounce self-serving group priorities for the higher surge and greater good.  Is there that kind of Guyanese around?  I struggle to keep an open mind through heavy doubts.

Here is another undeniable reality: no one party can solve crime in this country; none possesses an entirety of wisdom on sugar; and, despite all the talk from all over, no Guyanese group, as yet, has a lock on predicting accurately how sweet the crude will prove to be for this expectant suspicious nation.  They can warn and implore and demand ad infinitum.  But at this time, they can do no more; know no more; represent no more.  In some respects, so many are thinking alike, that no one is thinking at all on the starry-eyed vision sometimes already cemented.

In the above areas, and so many more, it is the same eternal way, the identical timeless lamentation: nothing can be accomplished by one; nothing will be allowed to be achieved by one; and nothing with any materiality can progress beyond a certain pedestrian stage, when acting alone.  All the ambushes, critiques, and gloating, will lead, as they always do, to nowhere but the present deplorable self-destructive state.

This nation has fooled itself all the time; it continues to allow itself to be the butt of foolishness.  Unless it hurries forward to reverse course, then this society will forever be identified in the cartography of nations as a fool’s paradise.  At bottom, perhaps it really is.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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